Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book #10: Where'd You Go Bernadette

I was in for an afternoon of dental work (two replacement fillings and a crown), and I was looking for something to distract me from the horror of it all. I decided an audio book was worth a shot, and Where'd You Go Bernadette? was $5.99 on itunes. We had a winner.

First, the audio book during dental work was a great idea, if I do say so myself. I had to really focus on what was happening in the story which distracted me from what was happening in my mouth.

Second, I got a new-to-me car that has bluetooth that automatically connects when I get in the car. So each time I got in, my book continued. It was great!  I did not think I would enjoy an audio book so much, but I've already downloaded another one.

The book itself was a good summer read. Not the best thing I've ever read, but entertaining nonetheless. It's narrated by Bernadette's daughter, Bee, but also includes lots of source documentation about Bernadette's history. That makes it sound boring, but this source documentation includes things like catty emails from annoying moms. Bernadette is a volatile, creative person who finds a way to erase her tracks when she's had enough. It makes for a good story.

Book #9: The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry

Somehow I've never read any Larry McMurtry books. It's weird because I really like Texas as a setting for novels and I practically grew up on Lonesome Dove (the miniseries, not the book).

I was looking for a small town Texas novel and after much back and forth chose The Last Picture Show.

As one would expect when reading about a small Texas town and the teenagers-come-adults that live in it, the novel was full of melancholy. The people all took care of each other, but as a result had that ability to hurt one another more deeply. Growing up is hard. Sometimes teenagers are dumb.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Adventure Awaits

I found out a few weeks ago that I will be the principal of Spring Creek Elementary, College Station ISD's ninth elementary school.

I don't know if I can really even believe it yet. It's a busy time of year at Consol -- kids getting restless, kids cutting it a little too close as graduation came near, evening activities happening sometimes every night of the week. I'm also the high school summer school principal this year, so I've been working a lot trying to make sure everything goes smoothly when teachers show up and when kids come the next day. I've had plenty to do. Knowing how I can get obsessed with tasks, I have not allowed myself to think too much about Spring Creek. It's kind of like getting my chores done before I pick up a book that I really want to read.

Graduation was Friday night and summer school begins Tuesday, so I'm finally there. I'm finally at a place where I can start letting go and start moving forward.

So this afternoon I rode my bike down to the now-being-cleared land that will house our school. It's a whole 1.48 miles from my house. I went once before, but this time I took a picture, like a proud parent capturing a baby's first laugh. Then I couldn't stop thinking about it. All day I randomly smiled to myself about this school and this responsibility.

I had to see it again. Tonight I jumped in the car and drove out to the other side -- the highway side -- of the property to have another look. (If you saw someone park on the side of the road and hop the fence it wasn't me.) It was dusk, and the piles of brush surrounded by trees took my breath away. I just stood there and stared at the dirt.

On that dirt, there will be field days and sing-a-longs and award assemblies and recesses and programs and plays.

Moms and dads and grandparents will drop their kids off at school for the first time, and they'll cry to think that their babies are growing up.

Someone will have their first day of teaching ever, and someone will have their last.

Someone will experience failure for the first time, and someone will finally learn what it feels like to be good at something.

A parent will find out that his child has a learning disability and worry for the future.

Lifelong friends will be made. Gifts will be discovered.

On that dirt, thousands of kids will learn to read.

That spot will forever be "my school" to every kid who graces its hallways.

And so tonight at dusk in an empty pasture surrounded by piles of brush I prayed for every last child that will ever walk in those halls and every staff member who will work there, and I wept for sorrow and joy for every one of them.

I can hardly contain my excitement about the opportunity to vision a place that will be home to so many. I can hear my dad saying, "If I was any better I wouldn't be able to stand myself" and know exactly how he feels. Lots of good, hard, important work is come!

If you had asked me ten years ago if I thought I'd be here, I would have laughed. God is good.